Catch the rhythm: Nightfall in Jamaica
Beaches, mountains, jungles and craggy coastlines. Jamaica is an island nation unlike any other, from its food to its music to its pulsing nightlife. Jamaica's dramatic topography and crystalline waters make it one of the most beautiful islands on the planet, but with its tropical climate, Jamaica has some of the most desirable weather, too. Warm almost constantly with daytime temperatures fluctuating between 77 and 82 degrees F (cooler at night in the winter), Jamaica is ideal for spending time out-of-doors, but when the day at the beach is over, it's time for one of Jamaica's most spectacular sights: the sunset.
Jamaica sees an average of 13 daylight hours throughout the year. In the late winter, the sun begins to descend in Jamaica sometime between 6:00 and 6:30 p.m, so if you're planning to watch the sunset, you'll want to get out to a vantage point sometime around 6:45 to make the most of the descending rays. Springtime begins following the vernal equinox on or around March 21st when the sun stays out longer. If you're in Jamaica between late March and mid-June, the sun can set as late as 7:15, so you have another full hour of daylight to enjoy. After June 21st, the summer solstice, the sun's time in the sky begins to decrease again. If you are visiting the island in autumn, you can expect that the sun will go down around 6:15, or as early as 5:30 if you're visiting in late November.
It is tough to find a bad spot to watch the sunset in Jamaica, but some places are particularly spectacular. Negril is reputed to have an especially beautiful sunset that has even been credited with therapeutic properties such as calming the mind. Negril's sunset is unique because of its orange hue, derived from a particular combination of salt particles in the air hanging over the water. Rick's Cafe is a popular Negril destination. Set 35 feet above the water on the island's western shore, the bar and restaurants patio provides uninterrupted views of the setting sun. Rick's is also a popular spot for cliff diving. If you're in Jamaica during the busy season of winter or at the height of the summer, Rick's Cafe will be crowded. It is wise to call ahead to hold a table. It is also possible to book a trip to Rick's on a group tour or through a travel agent. Montego Bay is another popular tourist area, and though it is farther east than Negril, if you face west, views of the sunset are just as dazzling.
Weather and seasonal considerations
The months of May, October and November are Jamaica's rainiest times, so be aware that if you're traveling during the rainy season, your chances of seeing perfect sunsets may be limited. That said, rain in Jamaica can sometimes clear quickly, and the clear sky after a rain can be an amazing canvas for a sunset. Jamaica doesn't suffer much from smog problems, so if the weather cooperates, you can expect any sunset to be absolutely remarkable, particularly if you're facing west.